Friday, August 21, 2009

Writing Isn't So Easy

Writing Isn't So Easy Many times I've heard beginning writers, sometimes known as wannabe-writers, declare that they've decided to supplement family income by writing. Or some even naively decide they will 'support' themselves by writing articles for major magazines. So, they quit their jobs or set aside other things and spend a great deal of time writing. Then they begin the marketing process, and before long, their balloon of great dreams bursts.Until you actually try writing and getting your work published, you have little idea as to what is involved, how much real work it takes. Pick up any magazine and read a feature article. It flows, is smooth and polished, keeps your interest and may be entertaining. The person who wrote that article did not sit down at the computer, dash out a couple thousand words and send it to the editor of a top magazine.Instead, she (or he) wrote a first draft and then revised it several times. Some might then run it through a critique group to get professional eyes to look at it, eyes that can be objective and pick up glaring problems. Only after even further revision does the writer send the article or a query to an editor.Some magazines require a query letter first. They want to know what kind of article you want to send them, what qualifies you to be the one to write it, how many words it contains, and how soon you can have it in final form. If they're interested, they'll ask for the article to be sent. If not, they will either send a rejection letter or ignore the whole thing and leave the writer hanging.If the editor likes what she reads in your query, she'll look at the article and may very well send it back saying she loves the whole idea, how great it is but....and that 'but' is the size of an elephant. Why? Because after the 'but' the editor will list all the changes she wants to see. So, what is the writer going to do now? If she wants to sell the article, she'll bend over backwards to make the changes. Should the changes be major ones that the writer can't agree with, she has to argue her point and hope she wins the editor over to her side. And so it goes on until both make a few compromises and the article is purchased, or if they are still locking horns, the editor drops it and moves on.That's only a small part of deciding to be a professional writer. It's not as easy as some people think. You have to love to write to put yourself in the position of being rejected as well as having work accepted. You must thrive on being challenged, and you've got to work hard. Most of all, you've got to love writing.

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